After the success of the very important, influential, ground-breaking, and not at all made up study into how many hands does it take to change a nappy, we are now analysing the daily task of the school run.  Exactly how many eyes a parent is required to have for this task of getting the children to school safely, unharmed, and on-time.

how many eyes do you need for the school run



The Journey:

For the purposes of this study we are looking at a 7 minute walk (excluding stops to pick up random sticks, stroke dogs and read sign posts) from home (a) to school (b).  The journey consists of two road crossings and very uneven pavements.  This study only takes into account the journey from a to b, and not the monumental task of getting ready to leave the actual house.


The Conditions:

The day this study was conducted was dry, but cloudy.  Rain looked highly likely and temperature was a lot warmer than it looked, so probably no need for all those layers the small people have been wrestled into.


The Participants:

The School Child (Participant 1)

For the purposes of this experiment the school child was aged 5 years and three-quarters.  He is proficient in walking, running, skipping and jumping.  All with added sound effects of his choosing.  Has a good awareness of the highway code and complete disregard for the importance of looking where he is going.  He is likely to ask, on average, 29 questions on the 7 minute journey.

The Hanger-on (Participant 2)

Essentially Participant 2 has only come along for the ride.  Participant 2 is aged 1 and-a-half years, and has a tendency to get very over excited upon seeing buses.  For the purposes of this study Participant 2 will be restrained in a pushchair.

The Parent (Owner of the eyes being assessed for this study)

The parent in this experiment has been doing the school run for one year, and prior to that has two years of experience in the pre-school run.  Her most commonly spoken words on the school run are “slow down” “hurry up” and “look where you’re going”.  The parent has refused to disclose her age, as at this point in time she can’t actually remember.  The parent rated her stress levels that morning as an 8 1/2 out of 10, which translates to a ‘good’ morning.  She had received 6.5 hours of sleep with two interruptions (a lost teddy – Participant 1, and a midnight wee – herself).

In the interest of full disclosure the eyes of the subject being studied are blue.  They require glasses for VDU work and driving.  They are always accompanied by dark circles.


The Equipment:

The equipment deemed essential for the school run consists of:

  • Buggy
  • Book-bag
  • P.E Kit
  • Change Bag
  • 2 Lego Figures
  • 3 Raincoats (the wearing of which has been heavily disputed)


The Study:

How Many Eyes do You Need For The School Run?

Please note that for the purpose of this study the eyes we are referring to are indeed a pair, as it is virtually impossible to look left with one eye and right with the other.


Eyes 1:

Look left and right and assess when it is safe to cross the road

Eyes 2:

Insure Participant 1 has his hand on the buggy whilst crossing the road

Eyes 3:

Watch Participant 2‘s shoes which he is currently trying to remove

Eyes 4:

Constantly scan the floor for dog crap

Eyes 5:

Watch out for oncoming pedestrians and simultaneously ensure Participant 1 does not walk into the pedestrians whilst he is asking another question and looking up at the sky.

Eyes 6:

Check pedestrians following behind for proximity to the book-bag that Participant 1 is swinging around his head

Eyes 7:

Assess the dark clouds above and decide whether it is time to get the rain cover out for the pushchair

Eyes 8:

Find the Lego figure’s head that Participant 1 has dropped on the floor

Eyes 9:

Find the shoes that Participant 2 has successfully removed whilst the subject was looking for the Lego figure’s head

Eyes 10:

Assess the stick Participant 1 has stopped to examine is in fact a stick and not a dried cat turd

Eyes 11:

Monitor Participant 2 who is now trying to remove his socks

Eyes 12:

Measure the speed of the oncoming kid on the scooter and determine whether they are going to dodge right or left, and steer Participant 1 and Participant 2 in the opposite direction

Eyes 13:

Look out for lamp-posts and other hazards that Participant 1 is likely to walk into

Eyes 14:

Remain on constant vigil for passengers of parked cars opening their doors and taking out Participant 1

Eyes 15:

Pick up the socks that Participant 2 has successfully removed and thrown from the buggy

Eyes 16:

Remain on constant alert for muddy puddles and Participant 1’s proximity to them.  If Participant 1 ventures too close stern threats will be issued that will not be followed through, all the while cursing a certain pig in a red dress.

Eyes 17:

Spot the errant toddler that has escaped and hand them back to their out-of-breath and grateful parent

Eyes 18:

Assess proximity of pushchair to Participant 1 so as to avoid collisions when Participant 1 does a sudden and needless emergency stop

Eyes 19:

Give the old lady that is looking at Participant 2’s bare toes and showing a ‘concerned’ expression  a hard stare that you hope conveys the message, “Don’t you dare comment on my baby’s feet being cold, or I will be forced to smile and laugh and explain that he always takes them off, when in fact I owe you no explanation at all, and really want to tell you to mind your own business, and shove his socks in your mouth, but I am far too polite to do that”

Eyes 20:

Be available to look at the dog / house / leaf / sign / friend that Participant 1 is insisting be looked at, even though the same dog / house / leaf / sign / friend is seen on every school run

Eyes 21:

Roll disdainfully at the people parked on the zig-zag yellow lines outside the school


So there we have the answer; How Many Eyes do You Need For The School Run?


Twenty One


This number can dramatically increase with other factors, such as both participants walking, and therefore stopping several hundred times.  When one child goes one way and one the other you will indeed require the illusive eyes in the back of your head.  Pavement hazards also significantly increase on any given bin day.




The Conclusion:

In conclusion, parents distinct lack of visual receptors mean the school run is a daily struggle where stress levels run high and extreme adversity is overcome.  It also gives us an insight into why it is impossible for a parent to maintain eye contact with you during a conversation. They simply don’t have enough pairs of eyes.


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Claire Kirby

46 Comments on How Many Eyes do You Need For The School Run?

  1. So funny. Eyes 10 made me laugh especially. Someone was talking to me the other day and kept stopping everytime I looked away to check child status and I thought if you keep doing that you’ll never get to the end of your sentence! #sorrynotsorry

  2. LOVE this post. I am already having anxiety about getting to the bus stop on time with my two kids and school doesn’t start until September! Also wanted you to know that you’re eyes aren’t the only ones surrounded by dark circles, or that has it out for Peppa! 😀 Great work!

  3. Oh for goodness sake would you just stop being so bloody clever writing such hilarious posts.

    Actually, no don’t.

    The ‘not at all made up’ bit. And the old woman and the socks! Flippin heck, so funny.


  4. You are always hilarious. Great spin! I am sick of retrieving the lost toys that the toddler has thrown out of the pushchair, but not brave enough to confiscate the toy in the first place. I only live 100 meters away from school, yet am consistently late for exactly those 21 reasons! I would like to put a case forward for 21 assistants to help me exist as I think I’d look a bit odd with 21 eyes. Loving your work. x

  5. Lol this is such a great post. I have a three and a half year old and a twenty month old and the three year old has just started pelre-school so I can totally relate. Especially to the parts about participant 2 always removing socks and shoes. Oh, and the part about always having dark circles under the eyes!

    Stopping by from your #FridayFrolics linky. Thanks for hosting 🙂

  6. Oh yes! Absolutely! I completely relate to this with a year one, a nursery schooler and a baby on the school run by myself every day. Mornings can be so stressful! They see their friends and run off to see them and I’m like “arghh, where have my kids gone?!”. At least baby is in the buggy at the moment. I will be in trouble when he is walking too! xx #fridayfrolics

  7. Hahaha!! This is absolutely my life at the moment!! We don;t do the school run yet — as the boys are only two — but every walk to the park/the shop/the post office is FRAUGHT with danger!!! Loved 13 and 14!! Thanks so much for linking up with us #twinklytuesday

  8. I never thought of it like this before Claire but yeah – the school run is absolutely fraught with danger/mislaid items/lack of concentration etc. etc. Some days I get the luxury of only having one child and that kind of halves the number of eyes needed! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout Xx

  9. It certainly is a daily struggle! 21 eyes sounds about right…maybe 22 if you count the cat poo one twice (it happens a lot on our school runs!). Very much enjoyed reading the sequel to How Many Hands Does it Take to Change a Nappy! #TwinklyTuesday x

  10. Brilliant! Definitely agree with all of these – there are so many things that you have to look at and take it when you are a parent. Sounds very similar to our preschool run – Sophie is usually restrained in the buggy too even though she is quite capable of walking there and back as well as that would require even more pairs of eyes and hands.. 🙂 #thetruthabout

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